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w/e 2020-03-15

Due to current circumstance…

§ I’m enjoying buying one album a week. It’s a nice rhythm and gives me a reason to listen to one collection of music more than anything else in the constant stream of new music that can flow past my ears these days. This week it was Loveless Unbeliever the 2010 album from The School which entirely passed me by at the time, despite them being right up my street (probably living next door to Camera Obscura).

The School – Let it Slip, on YouTube

§ This is a very fluid and rapidly changing situation…

§ I can’t remember the last time I did paid work for more than five days in a week. Five is rare. Some of this week’s included swearing at PHP for how it deals, or doesn’t deal, with “multi-byte characters”, like curly quotes and other oddities. It’s been a while since I’ve got frustrated at character encodings so I guess it was just like old times.

Also, here’s what some might describe as a “protip”: if two words look the same but the computer says they’re not the same, maybe one of them contains an invisible soft hyphen character.

I expect people who tweet “protips” also send, “This is your reminder that…” tweets, which only goes to prove that internet access should not be considered a right that everyone deserves.

§ The current health situation has required…

§ I have a confession.

Earlier in the week I did some yoga and I used my Apple Watch to track this “Yoga Workout”. Monitoring every second and every Active Calorie does seem contrary to the peacefulness and acceptance of yoga, but whatever, here we all are in 2020. That’s not the confession.

After Adriene wished me well I sat down with a coffee to consume some Internet. It was nearly an hour later that I realised my Watch was still tracking that “Yoga Workout”. Oh no.

Because the Watch was so impressed with this lengthy workout it gave me a Yoga Workout Record Award for burning 439 calories, more than I’d ever burned before. Later in the day I received, in a quiet ceremony that took place on my wrist, a New Exercise Record Award for 207 “Exercise minutes” in a single day.

While I could delete the original fraudulent workout it’s impossible to delete Awards. They will sit there until such time as I legitimately beat these so-called records.

So I am now living a lie. I’m carrying two awards that I don’t deserve. I’m like a man wearing a Victoria Cross and a Purple Heart whose only taste of wartime action was Gary’s stag do when they went paintballing and it was pretty mental actually.

I can only apologise and ask that you accept me for who I am.

§ Given the overall international situation…

§ Back in January when I didn’t read this Vox article about comfortable millennial lifestyle brands, hygge, etc, I thought it must be pretty good being someone like Faith Popcorn because you can come up with a trend like cocooning and every few years it’ll come around again and, once more, you’ll be seen as a prescient visionary.

And now, here we are, battening down the hatches and self isolating and I’m thinking that “cocooning” would be a much more “domestic cozy” way of describing “self isolation”.

I’m still surprised at how much advice people need about how to work from home. Here’s my advice: “Sit at the computer when you’d start work, stop for lunch, carry on at the computer until it’s the time you stop work, and don’t forget to move about a bit every hour or so.” Obviously, this advice assumes your work involves sitting at a computer but then so, it seems, does everyone else’s.

Apparently all the articles that have been written over previous decades about how to work from home have mysteriously vanished, so now we need lots of new Medium posts and twitter threads to fill the gap.

I’ve also seen people very keen to recommend good movies, games, TV shows etc. for people who don’t otherwise know how to pass any time at home. OK, fine, but I bet people who’ve been working on recommendation engines for at least 25 years (remember Firefly?) are pretty frustrated that puny humans are still doing this for each other.

§ In this uncertain time…

§ This week was the last of our trips to films at the Borderlines Film Festival and probably our last trips to films at all for a while. First was The Gold-Laden Sheep and the Sacred Mountain, an Indian film about some shepherds in the mountains. It was good. Indian slow cinema, nice to just sit and gaze at.

Yesterday we saw Bait in a church hall in Ross-on-Wye and that was very good. I saw the trailer for it last year sometime and the film was a bit more conventional than I’d expected, or remembered, from that, but still interesting. So many good moments and great sequences. Nice to see a story told a bit differently.

§ During these trying times…

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